YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 1ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME. THE SOLEMNITY OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD
HOMILY THEME: SALVATION THROUGH BAPTISM
BY: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
HOMILY: In Christ we see the fullness of God’s revelation and through Him it is opened to us the treasures kept in store from time immemorial for those who believe. He is the New Man through Whom our relationship with God was reworked and reconstituted and He is the Model-Man Whom we are called to follow and imitate. By the merits of Christ we truly become sons and daughters of God and through Him we gain access and enter into our true homeland. May Christ make of us new creatures by our living of our baptismal promises; Amen.
The Christmas Season has been joyful with the celebration of God’s decisive intervention in the History of Salvation, the Mystery of Christ “born of the Father before all ages and in time, for us men and women and for our salvation, was incarnate of the Virgin Mary.” All of the Feasts had been to lead us to recognise the true identity of the Son born to us, likewise the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. The Feast of the Baptism of Jesus Christ brings to a close the Christmas Season and the Liturgy of today continues to unveil the true identity of the person of Jesus Christ as our attention is reinstated into one of the central goals of all of our liturgical celebrations which is to prepare us positively for that unique encounter with Christ at the end of time when “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.”
The Gospel Reading (Luke 3:15-16, 21-22) recounts to us the scene of the Baptism of our Lord with the very fascinating events that took place. Firstly, we heard of the administration of the baptism of John the Baptist which was to prepare the people for the coming of “He who will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” The ministry and mission of John the Baptist was part of the content of the prophecies in the First Reading (Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11) about the voice that cries “prepare in the wilderness a way for the Lord. Make a straight highway for our God across the desert.” John the Baptist was clear in showing Christ to all and in preparing them to meet him worthily. Secondly we heard about the Baptism of Jesus after which a voice spoke from heaven. It was not only the identity of Christ that was revealed in this occasion. God also revealed Himself to us as the Blessed Trinity; the Father who spoke, the Holy Spirit who descended in the form of a dove and the Son who is revealed to us in the person of Jesus Christ, “You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on You.”
At the scene of the Baptism of our Lord, it was revealed to us that the History of Salvation was under the control and direction of the Holy Trinity. This makes meaning why the door of salvation is opened unto us through our baptism in the name of the Trinity, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Through Christ “God’s grace has been revealed, and it has made salvation possible for the whole human race and taught us that what we have to do is to give up everything that does not lead to God, and all our worldly ambitions; we must be self-restrained and live good and religious lives” (Titus 2:11-14,3:4-7). Through our own baptism we become connected to this grace, we become adopted sons and daughters of God. The Baptism of Jesus teaches us, on the one hand, the indispensability of the Sacrament of Baptism for anyone who truly wants to be a Follower of Christ and a Child of God, and, on the other hand, the secret of the successful living of our Baptismal Promises. On a day like this, it is vital to remember the day we were baptised and to reflect on how we have kept the promises we made on the day of our baptism. Have we truly become new men and women? Are we true witnesses to the grace we carry? To live our adoptive son-ship and daughterhood, we must look up to Jesus Christ. He is our Model and the New Man that God makes of us by the power of the graces He bestows on us.
May our celebration of the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ renew within us the graces of our own baptism; Amen.
Fr Cyril CCE